Skip to main content

Full text of "05CHIANGMAI216"

See other formats


This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available. 

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CHIANG MAI 000216 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV TH 

SUBJECT: NORTHERN ASSIGNMENTS SHOW STRONG HAND OF THAKSIN 
REF: BANGKOK 5964 

CHIANG MAI 00000216 001.2 OF 002 


^1 . (sbu) Summary. October 1 brought the annual promotions and 
reassignments of officials in Northern Thailand, as well as the 
rest of the country (reftel). Although civil service, police, 

and military promotions are officially based on seniority and merit, politics played perhaps an even stronger role than usual 
this year. end summary 

It's not easy being Chiang Mai Governor under Thaksin 


^2. (sbu) In the annual resuffle of governors and military officers that became effective October 1, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra showed 

^3. (sbu) The Prime Minister has made his home town of Chiang Mai a priority development area, lavishing funds on projects such as the Night 
Prime Minister's high expectations. Suwat has faced criticism 
over growing youth problems, an issue that the PM is starting to 
bring to the fore nationwide. In particular the Governor is on 

the line for failing to restrict licenses for places serving alcoholic drinks, which are blamed for contributing to the 
corruption of young people. Governor Suwat also had to 

publicly disassociate himself from a company owned by his daughter that was awarded a Provincial Government-supervised bid to organize an IT fs 

1[4 . (sbu) Perhaps most crucially. Governor Suwat was held responsible for the poor governmental response to severe 
flooding that hit Chiang Mai August 14-15. When a second 

flood September 20 threatened to disrupt high-level Thai-Chinese trade talks, the Prime Minister sent Deputy Interior Minister 
Sermsak Pongpanit to direct relief and recovery. When 

flooding hit a third time September 30, Thaksin dispatched Deputy Prime Minister Suwat Liptapanlop to supervise the work of the provincial and 
1[5 . (sbu) In the end, however. Governor Suwat was saved in this round by his helpful role in the Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party's sweep of all ter 
A little help from the police goes a long way 


1[6 . (sbu) Region 5 Police Commissioner Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayudhya was also passed over for promotion, reportedly because of his s 
remain in the north until public attention has faded. In this 

way Thaksin can protect Panupong, who reportedly helped ensure the TRT victory in February by using police to stop rival canvassers. 

1[7 . (sbu) In another example of the old boys network at work, Thaksin's former police academy classmate Border Patrol Police 

(BPP) Region 3 chief Pol Maj Gen Suradet Saengpradit retained his position despite a lackluster performance in the counter-narcotics area. Si; 
Military tensions over Burma 


1[8 . (sbu) Strong speculation that Lt Gen Saprang Kalanamit would be passed over as 3rd army chief in favor of the more junior Maj Gen Manat E 
Ayudhya. However, Saprang's tenure is considered insecure 

because of his hardline approach to Burma, which is not compatible with his predecessor Gen Pichanmet ’ s joint border development initiative or 
Thaksin's classmate Maj Gen Manat Paorik, earlier thought to have a shot at the 3d Army command job, is now positioned as the most senior amonc 

1[9 . (sbu) Comment: Although Thaksin apparently made some 

CHIANG MAI 00000216 002.2 OF 002 


compromises with military concerns over politicizing the promotion list, our contacts from the Ministry of Interior and the 3rd Army had no trc 
and nepotism prevailed. To no one's surprise, the advantage 

went to those with personal, business and/or political connections with the Prime Minister, his family, and key party members.